11 September 176990

    Messieurs EDES & GILL,

    Please to insert the following.

    ______“O vain surmise!

    To deem the grandeur of a crown

    Consists in lawless pow’r! to deem them wise

    Who change security and fair renown,

    For detestation, shame, distrust, and fear!91

    IT is the indispensible duty of every good citizen, when he thinks his country in jeopardy of bondage, to offer his sentiments on the state of publick affairs, with that zeal and resolution, which the exigency of the times demands. Wherever the right of delivering opinions and arguments, touching political transactions, is restrained by any thing, but the common good of the whole, the natural, the just claim of freemen is so far unnecessarily infringed: And in the same degree, as this infringement is extended, by the legislative or executive body of any state, so far is the grand, the sole end of all government defeated: –– Hence the body of the community, whose safety and protection is the only rational standard of obedience, have an indefesible right to assert and establish this prerogative of the people: And as the multitude, when united, ever have the power, so unless debauched by vice, they will ever, without any procrastination, repell such daring invaders. For let the executioners of oppression, who are cloathed with the regalia of power, in proportion to their own infamy and the corruption of age;—I say, let these execrable tools trumpet forth the mysteries of government, with as much unintelligible jargon, pomp, and diabolical hypocrisy, as they may; they will always meet, from an intelligent people, just indignation and vengeance.—What must be the emotions of any honest man, who, in his day, should have seen the herald of Slavery enrobed in the sacred scarlet of the judgment-seat;—one fitted by nature, for fraud and deception, confirmed, by habit, in the despicable arts of low cant and cunning; pensioned, by monies drawn from the bowels of an impoverished people, to instill, and peerless enough to inculcate, in a land of light, the abhorred doctrines of passive obedience:—and, finally, the villain, who contrived, hardy enough to accomplish the accursed project of prostituting the sacred tribunal of justice—to promote the little designs of private policy, and establish the broad plan of a determined, imperial tyranny! But a delineation of the thoughts, which naturally arise on this head, would exceed the limits of this Paper:—Perhaps the subject will be handled with more copiousness and fidelity, by some future historian, who need not dread the “summary procedure” of a star-chamber tyranny, or imprisonment and torture from the fangs of power.—But a rising generation of freemen will scarcely believe, that doctrines were ever advanced, and avowedly practised upon, which would have better graced the court of a Spanish inquisition, than a land famed for its free constitution.

    When we look on the historic page of old time, or survey, with attention, the present face of the globe—When shall we find, where shall we see a nation, who, with justice, can boast a freedom, confirmed by the laws of state, worthy to be placed in competition with that liberty, which is derived from the grand charter of nature:—a liberty which the people have an indefesible right to enjoy, unimpaired, except so far as is necessary for the general felicity;—a liberty, which no nation, that the Sun ever saw, enjoyed in that plenitude and perfection, which it ought to expect—and demand.

    Have not the British nation vaunted their patronage of freedom?—Yet traverse the globe—and where do you find the flame of liberty blaze with the greatest lustre?—Poor America! Distressed Corsica!—How does my Heart bleed?—Oh Britain do you not blush? Ye, worthy few, of a degenerate nation—do you not weep tears of Blood?—France and England have to a proverb, been denominated natural and sworn enemies.—But in what instance will posterity find them combining into a close Union? Great Britain is oppressing the American!—France plundering the Corsican!—And are they not unnaturally united totally to extinguish the few remaining sparks of patriotism, which yet enliven and vigorate two little spots of this subjugated World?—A melancholy and alarming reflection!

    What, my honest countrymen—you I mean who are willing, like your venerable forefathers, (if such be the decree of heaven,) to eat your bread, with sweat of brow and sorrow of heart;—nay, if your GOD and country require, are willing to wade thro’ blood and carnage to extirpate that bondage, with which the Egyptians seek to enthrall us;—what, I say, my fellowmen, are your feelings at beholding the infernal miscreants, who are even in your own bosoms, and are seconding the blood-thirsty designs of those who would devour your very vitals?—Declare, my countrymen, freely declare your sentiments—avow your determinations—and execute your righteous resolutions,—

    Our merchants have done worthily; but it is the body of the people, who must, under GOD, finally save us. For while there are debauched consumers of foreign luxuries, there always will be, in this depraved state, mercenary creatures enough to import the bane of their country. And it is no derogation from the disinterested conduct of our merchants to imagine, that their efforts will prove ineffectual, if not established by the virtue of the people.—Nay, my fellowmen, the servile emissaries and wicked minions of your inveterate foes have insultingly prophesied and blazed it abroad, with a rancorous malice, characteristic of themselves, that the mercantile endeavours would prove utterly abortive;—that no dependance was to be had upon the virtuous stability of the generality among us;—that the common people, or, as they disdainfully term it, the herd, were sunk in luxury, intemperance and every degrading vice;—and that hence, any commercial plan of political salvation would prove, only, an amusing dream—a transitory phantom.

    There are a black tribe of ignoble and abandoned wretches, in almost every community, who would entail poverty and servitude on all mankind, if they might be allowed the temporary gratification of revelling in the unbounded wantoness of power and plunder. Such wretches cannot fail, when fully known, of meeting from their injured fellow-men, that righteous judgment, sentence, and prosecution, which will effectually mortify their pride, subdue their insolence, and frustrate their damnable designs.

    For if once a servile clan of infamous prostitutes, with impunity, lay and carry on their detestable schemes—All is upon the brink of destruction:—but, if a daring band of rebels to their GOD, and traitors to their Country, plot with the malice of Hell, labour and persevere with the obstinacy of Devils, for the ruin and rapine of a happy land, unchecked and uncontrouled, by the vigilance, the union, the vigour and firmness of the people—All is lost!—

    Superior virtue, wisdom, might,

    Create and mark the ruler’s right,

    So reason must conclude:

    Then thine it is, to whom belong

    The wise, the virtuous, and the strong,

    Thrice sacred Multitude!

    Thy will’s thy rule, thy good it’s end;

    You punish only to defend

    What parent nature gave:

    And he who dare her gifts invade

    By nature’s oldest law is made

    Thy victim or thy slave.”92